By Lin Parkin
March 14, 2011
What makes a listener perk up their ears to receive a message?
Is it the sound of the voice that captures an audience or the motivation behind how the voice over artist paints their words and delivers the copy?
Let's explore this topic together in greater detail in today's VOX Daily.
Language and the voice are uniquely human gifts. When we speak aloud we are characterized by gender, age, geographic region and emotional state.
Maya Angelou once said, "Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning."
Beautiful words. Did you read them aloud? If you didn't you should, you will see how much more the statement resonates with you. I've been exploring the emotional significance of the human voice. What I am specifically interested in is how we react to different voices and is it the voice itself or the emotion behind the voice that causes a reaction.
I didn't have to look far to understand that it is the emotion behind the voice that elicits a powerful reaction from the listener. Though it may be true that we find certain types of voices more attractive to the ear, which plays a role in the mating game, we empathize with any and all types of voices whether they are scratchy, hoarse, clear, high or low. The emotional state behind the voice is what we connect with on a deeper level.
One example of this is audio books. When you read a novel you can imagine in your mind's eye the emotions the character is feeling but when you actually hear the emotional voice of the actor it can send chills right up your spine, make you cry, comfort you, or make you laugh out loud; allowing you to experience the book in the way the author intended.
Vocal paralanguage is the thousands of ways in which any given word can be interpreted and the subtleties that we may not get in language until spoken aloud such as inflections, pitch, regional dialect, sadness, anger, sarcasm, happiness, etc. Unless heard, many of these things are not clearly grasped by the reader. Vocal paralanguage is our interpretation of what words really mean.
Voice talents are experts at deciphering this. They use their voices to deliver the emotional subtleties behind language. This is true in any niche of voice over. Whether it is the voice of a call centre IVR keeping you calm until a representative greets you or the character brought to life in your favorite audio book, voice talent are experts at captivating the listener with the power of the human voice.
Studying with a voice over coach will help you figure out how to inject more emotion into your reads. You can also check out the Voice Over Experts Podcast for some free advice and performance tips from industry professionals.
If you have anything to add to this, please jump in and leave a comment!
Looking forward to hearing from you,
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